September 1. I always remember giving my very good friend a call on that day because it's her twins' birthday. I remember how tiny they were when they were born two months premature. They had to stay in the NICU until they were strong enough to come home. Today, they are thirteen years old and they are almost as tall as their mother.
Though we don't talk as often as we used to, it's such a joy to catch up with her talking about our kids, our husbands, our careers, and life in general. This time around was no different but she said something that puzzled me.
My friend reminds me of a professional model; she's tall, slim, poised, and beautiful, and has an aura of mystery like the famous model Iman, the wife of the late David Bowie. She confided in me, "Elaine, I just don't understand my body. I've gained 12 pounds." I started to ponder what could be happening to my sweet, dear friend. I remarked, "You've always been so slim! What's going on?" She just couldn't figure it out. I finally asked, "Well, are you eating? Are you eating three meals a day?" She said, "No. I never eat breakfast. I don't eat much for lunch."
The gears started turning in my head. I said, "That's the reason. You're starving your poor body! Your body thinks that you're trying to kill it so it's just trying to survive."
Years ago, my dad explained to me this simple concept of survival. My dad was an agriculture student at the University of the Philippines before he decided to join the US Navy in the early 1960's. He shared with me that when a certain plant, the chaoyote plant or chaoyote squash which is a Filipino vine, is not bearing fruit, there is a way to make it fruitful. You would take a BBQ stick or toothpick and poke the plant through the vine, essentially stabbing it. In this case, the plant feels like someone or something is trying to kill it. In order for the plant to preserve its variety it's forced to bear flowers and then fruit. It's in its nature to protect itself. The same thing happens to the human body when it feels like the body is being starved. Every bit of what is consumed is turned into fat.
When I was growing up, we had a neighbor who sat outside all day long in her front yard sun tanning and drinking coffee. She never ate breakfast or lunch but she did eat dinner every day. So the food from her dinner was conserved and turned into fat each time.
My friend was enlightened that afternoon. I told her exactly what she needed to do to start getting back to her normal weight. But foremost she needed to stop starving her body and start eating three healthy meals a day. She contacted me the other day to let me know that she is doing well and has changed the way she eats. So far she has lost six pounds!
The body is so smart. When we're hungry, the stomach tells us by making sounds. But most of the time, we ignore these signs. The fact of the matter is that our body tells us everything. We just need to learn how to listen and take care of it.
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